Special Coverage

Geneva
Auto Show

Mazda Motor Corp. puts a few new wrinkles into its Mazda3 MPS – known in the U.S. as the Mazdapeed3, including a refined version of the hatchback’s powerful 2.3L engine and more aggressive exterior design cues.

The revised model takes its bows at the Geneva auto show today alongside a newly tweaked CX-7. Also making its debut is the auto maker’s new i-stop microhybrid stop-start technology for the Mazda3 lineup.

The new MPS, considered the flagship model for the popular Mazda3 line, adds a new hood scoop up front, designed to optimize intercooler efficiency, and a large, floating spoiler at the rear. The model also is distinguished from the rest of the line by its unique front fenders and blackened grille and lower bumper.

The car’s face is highlighted by cylindrical bi-xenon headlamps and round fog lamps, and light-emitting-diode lamps are incorporated at the rear.

Curving character lines along the side give the vehicle a hunkered-down look. New 18-in. wheels borrow their three-dimensional design theme from the up-market RX-8 sports car.

Inside, the wraparound dashboard houses a revamped tachometer with the MPS logo in red and LED turbo boost gauge.

The hot hatch’s 2.3L direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cyl. delivers 255 hp at 5,500 rpm in European spec, and 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) of torque at 3,000 rpm. Mazda says fuel economy has been improved by 2 mpg (0.8 km/L) from the outgoing model to 26 mpg (9.2 L/100km), while top speed is 155 mph (250 km/h) and 0-62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration is achieved in 6.1 seconds.

Mazda claims the world’s first application of a single-nanotechnology catalytic converter, reducing the amount of precious metals needed.

The auto maker also has taken steps to stiffen the body, adding special reinforcements inside the front cowl member gussets and large tunnel member. Damper strength has been increased to contribute to higher roll stiffness and a third rigid steering gear mount bushing has been added to improve steering response.

The electro-hydraulic power steering adjusts response according to vehicle speed and steering angle.

Standard equipment includes electronic brake assist, 4-wheel antilock brakes and stability controls.